Parker Waichman LLP Analyzes the Immigrant Family Separation Controversy
According to data reported by the Associated Press, nearly two thousand children were separated from nearly two thousand parents at the United States – Mexico border between April 19 and May 31 under President Trump’s “zero tolerance policy.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed all U.S. Attorneys in states on the southwest border to prosecute adults illegally entering the country including those who were accompanied by their children. While Attorney General Jeff Sessions asserted that by law, those who enter the country illegally with their children would be separated from them, there actually is no law that requires separation. Instead, the current policy, according to the Department of Homeland Security, is that the DHS may separate a parent or legal guardian from their child under certain circumstances. For instance, they might be separated if DHS cannot ascertain a parental relationship, if the parent or guardian is referred for criminal prosecution, or if DHS determines that a child might be at risk with their presumed parent or guardian.
A federal judge ordered that all of the separated children must be reunited with their parents or guardians within thirty days, but immigration advocates state that the Trump administration does not have a clear plan to reunite these families. Many immigration lawyers are trying to assist their clients in finding and reuniting with their children. In some respects, the situation is a humanitarian crisis that is particularly egregious because it has been difficult to locate where the separated children have been placed. Immigration issues like these that involve reunification are problematic, but there are a number of immigration matters that can be complicated and complex. If you have a question regarding your immigration law case, be sure to contact the experienced attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
Immigration Laws and the Policies Upon Which They Are Based
While there is no law that requires that children be separated from their parents, the Trump administration has pointed to Democrats as the source of the separation policy and has also claimed that there are loopholes from past administrations that need to be closed. Some of the policies that were enacted during past administrations include:
- The 1997 Flores Settlement from the Clinton Administration. This settlement states that children caught at the border who are unaccompanied may only be held in an immigrant detention center for up to twenty days. This policy later included children that were accompanied by their parents. After the twenty days, the children must be released to their parents, adult relatives, or other caretakes. The Trump administration has asserted that this settlement should be overturned.
- President George W. Bush signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act into law in 2008. This law required unaccompanied minors from countries that do not border the U.S. to be delivered to the Department of Health and Human Services for resettlement within three days.
- The 9th Circuit ruled in 2016 during the Obama administration that child migrants who came to the U.S. with parents and were held in custody should be released. However, the decision did not say that parents must also be released.
The Flores Settlement and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act do not state that children should be taken from their parents and arguably, these laws were enacted in order to protect children.
The Trump Administration’s Take on Immigration Policy
The Trump administration has said a number of other things about the immigration policy that was used to justify the separation of children from their parents. In March 2017, the then Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stated that the administration was considering separating migrant children from their parents. Although Secretary Kelly later took these comments on separating children back in the spring of 2017, a year later, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed the U.S. Attorneys in the southwestern border states to prosecute those who were flagged for illegal entry into the United States, citing to the zero-tolerance policy. Sessions proceeded to defend this policy citing the Bible.
Representation of Separated Migrant Families in the News
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer has made more recent headlines because he is now representing approximately sixty of the parents who have been removed from their children. Many news outlets assert that this attorney is simply seeking the limelight by inserting himself into one of the country’s biggest stories. However, the attorney responded by saying that that assertion was offensive and that he entered the fight because he was originally contacted by a California family that asked him to represent a relative who had lost custody of her child at the border. While the attorney’s hourly rate is typically more than $1,000, he claims that the services that he is providing for migrant families are pro bono. Because the Trump administration has no apparent plan to reunite the families that have already been separated, and the attorney stated that his goal is to try to reunite the separated children with their parents.
Experienced Immigration & Nationality Law Attorneys
The federal laws that govern immigration are what determine whether you are a citizen of the United States. Moreover, the federal immigration laws set forth the rights, obligations, and duties that are associated with being a non-resident or alien living in the United States, and also provides the process by which an individual might obtain citizenship or residence in the United States. At Parker Waichman LLP, our attorneys understand the complexities of immigration law and can offer our clients a variety of immigration legal services. Call our knowledgeable and dedicated lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP to assist you with your case.
Area of Immigration Law
Some of the immigration law matters that we have assisted clients with include:
Naturalization and Citizenship
Some individuals qualify for United States citizenship through naturalization. However, you must first have status as a lawful permanent resident or green card holder for at least five years. But if you are a legal permanent resident as a result of a United States citizen spouse, then you need only have the permanent resident status for three years. In these matters, you must also meet a number of requirements and conditions before your application is approved.
Some individuals might obtain a green card or become what is called a permanent resident of the United States through a family member. To be eligible for a green card through a family member you must be:
- The immediate relative of a citizen of the United States. This can include parents, spouses, and unmarried children younger than twenty-one.
- A family member of a citizen of the United States who falls within a preference category.
- A family member of a permanent resident.
- A member of a particular category or special groups such as a widow of a United States citizen, or an abused or battered spouse or child.
Green cards may also be obtained through marriage. An individual may be eligible to receive a green card or lawful permanent status if their spouse is a citizen of the United States or an active green card holder. In these instances, you may have to provide certain documentation or meet other requirements or conditions before you are considered eligible.
G-4 Green Cards
Employees of international organizations could be eligible for what is called G Visas. Individuals who come to the United States to work at or take up appointments at designated international organizations, like the United Nations, may be able to receive a G-4 Visa. The immediate family members of these employees may also be eligible to obtain these visas. After living in the United States on a G Visa for at least fifteen years before retirement, employees and former officers might be eligible for a special type of green card.
Conditional Resident Green Cards
Individuals who are considered conditional permanent residents can obtain a green card for two years. But to remain a lawful permanent resident of the United States, conditional permanent residents must file a petition to remove the condition within the ninety days for their green card expires. Unfortunately, if you cannot remove the conditions, then you can lose your permanent resident status.
Work Visas or Employment Visas
Individuals might be eligible for temporary or permanent work or employment visas depending on the facts and circumstances of their case. Some of these factors can include, occupation, credentials, and whether an employer is sponsoring you. There are a variety of visas available for temporary nonimmigrant workers, including those for athletes, entertainers, and diplomatic employees. Only a limited number of immigrants are eligible for employment-based visas, which are divided into five preference categories. If you come to the United States based on a job, under the law, you usually must obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.
There are certain entrepreneurs who are eligible to receive lawful permanent resident status if they are investors in a commercial enterprise in the United States. The spouses and unmarried children of these entrepreneurs are also usually eligible for this status. The entrepreneur is also required to plan on preserving or creating ten permanent full-time jobs for United States workers who are qualified.
Writ of Mandamus/Fighting Immigration Delay
Oftentimes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services delays or is behind on making decisions about application statuses such as those for naturalization or green cards. Writs of Mandamus can be used to compel the agency to make a decision in your case.
Removal, Deportation, and Immigration Court
You typically cannot be deported by the United States government until you are given the chance to present your immigration case before an Immigration Judge in a removal proceeding. There are several possibilities why the government might be trying to remove or deport you from the country.
Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents
Those individuals who are not lawful permanent residents but have lived in the country for at least ten years might be eligible to apply for cancellation of removal. This means that these individuals can use cancellation of removal to avoid being removed or deported from the United States.
Individuals who are fleeing from persecution in their home countries or that cannot return to their home country because they face life-threatening situations might be eligible for asylum in the United States. To receive permanent resident status in the United States as an asylee, you must qualify for this status for one year.
Family Reunification is a Foundation of Immigration Policy
A common theme among many of the above immigration law services is family reunification. Many individuals who seek citizenship or green cards already have family members who are citizens or lawful permanent residents.
The Immigration and Nationality Act was passed by Congress in 1965 and put in place the system of immigrant admissions that the United States still largely uses today. The system is weighted toward family reunification and has a lesser emphasis on migration that is employment based. In fact, the original act granted about seventy-four percent of all permanent visas to family reunification categories. Before the act was passed in 1965, visas were split equally between family reunification and employment-based categories. According to some studies, without the law, the current population of the United States would be older, smaller, and less diverse.
As evidenced by the recent actions to separate children from their parents at the border, the Trump administration is not adhering to the goal of family reunification, particularly because there is no apparent plan in place to reunite parents and children. As of July 9, 2018, the Trump administration has only been able to reunite fewer than half of the eligible separated migrant families. The fates of thousands of children and their families remain in limbo.
Why Choose Parker Waichman LLP
The lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP have earned the firm a reputation for success as is evident by the results we have achieved for so many of our clients. In fact, our firm has obtained significant verdicts for our clients as well as numerous awards and accolades. Some of our awards and accolades have included the highest rating of “5 Dragons” by Lawdragon.com, Martindale-Hubble’s “Preeminent Lawyers” AV Peer Review Rating, a listing in the “Best Lawyers” publication due to the outstanding rating received from other legal professionals, and a near perfect rating of 9.8 out of 10 on AVVO.com.
When you choose to hire Parker Waichman LLP to take on your case, you can expect quality legal representation from lawyers who are compassionate and knowledgeable, and dedicated to helping you obtain the best possible results in your case. With the lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP, you can rest assured that your case will be handled by attorneys who are capable and skilled, and who will make every effort to ensure that your rights are protected. We will be at your side every step of the way, answering any questions that arise so that you are able to make a more educated decisions concerning your case.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP today by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to discuss your case and to find out how our attorneys might be able to help you.
Contact One Of Our Experienced And Dedicated Attorneys Today
When it comes to immigration cases, the issues can be complex and confusing and oftentimes it is helpful to have the guidance of an attorney to help you navigate the ins and outs of the legal process in order to obtain the best possible results in your case. If you have an immigration law issue that you would like assistance with, be sure to contact our national law firm today to find out what we can do for you.
Free and Confidential Case Evaluation
At Parker Waichman LLP, we handle a variety of family separation immigration issues no matter how complex they might be, so if you need assistance with your case, you should seriously consider contacting one of our experienced family separation attorneys as soon as possible. The process of obtaining the relief you need can be complicated and may take a lengthy period of time so the sooner you contact a knowledgeable attorney, the better. Call our law firm today to discuss your case by dialing 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-986-7529).
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